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Foxconn denies factory labor strike reports

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Foxconn has denied reports that a mass strike last week shut down its Zhengzhou, China factory, one of two Chinese plants where the Taiwanese manufacturing giant assembles Apple's latest iPhone.

On Friday, New York–based labor rights group China Labor Watch had claimed that as many as 4,000 workers had walked off the job at the Zhengzhou plant over disputes between line workers and quality-control employees.

But on Saturday, Hon Hai, the parent company of Foxconn, issued a statement denying that there had been any significant work stoppage in Zhengzhou or any other Foxconn facility, and that all of its operations for Apple and other customers were proceeding on schedule.

"We can confirm that there were two disputes between a small group of production line workers and Quality Assurance personnel at our manufacturing facility in Zhengzhou, China on Oct. 1 and 2 but these incidents were isolated incidents," the statement read.

Hon Hai said that the conflicts arose because of "an emotional standoff" between the two groups, but claimed that managers took immediate steps to resolve the problem.

"After we addressed the issues, people on the day shift resumed work, and there was basically no impact on the production lines," the statement said.

Also on Saturday, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported Foxconn representatives as saying that no more than 400 employees failed to report for work in the incidents, and that they were all back at their jobs within two hours, rather than the eight hours that had previously been reported.

China Labor Watch had also claimed that tensions were high at the Zhengzhou plant in part because workers had been forced to work through the annual Golden Week holiday, something else Hon Hai has denied.

"Employees who have worked during the China national holidays at all our operations in China have done so voluntarily and this is supported by written documentation and any reports to the contrary are inaccurate," the company's statement said, adding that laborers who did work through the holiday were paid triple their normal wages, in keeping with Chinese labor law.

For its part, China Labor Watch is standing by its original claims. In an updated report, the group says that although the work stoppage started with around 300 quality control inspectors, that number soon swelled to 3,000 or more across some 70 production workshops.

Furthermore, China Labor Watch says that the strike only ended on its second day, when Foxconn management announced that anyone who was absent from work would be fired immediately.

Apple has issued no statement regarding the matter, and neither it nor Foxconn could be reached for comment. ®

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